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Jan 13, 20, 27 and Feb 3 - Emmorton Rec. Club Championship

New Logos for US Chess Affiliates | US
Join us for our 4 round Swiss System Tournament in two sections!
Section 1:  USChess Rated for USChess members
Section 2:  Club Rated for non-USChess members

Time control:  Game 60 increment 5 seconds
The winners of each section play in a shootout on Feb 10 for the club title and prizes.
You must be a club member to claim the title, but non-club members are welcome to play.
Rounds will start as close as we can to 7:00 so please do not be late and miss getting paired!

If you miss a round you can always play in the next round. 

Tie Breaks:
If there is a tie in a section, we have a G15 round robin playoff.  If after the round robin, there is still a tie, we move on to G5 round robin.  If after that, we move to G5, Armageddon.  If we move to playoffs, we may delay the championship shootout a week or so. 

Dec 2 – 9 ERC Club Championship Warmup

FREE 4 round Swiss System in two sections over two weeks.We have a rated section for USChess members and a club rated section for non-USChess members.Time control is Game in 30 minutes with a 5 second increment.


Dec 2:  Registration 7:00- 7:10 pm; Round 1 – 7:15, Round 2 – 8:15;

Dec 9:  Round 3, 7:10; Round 4 at 8:10

Prizes!  Books for the winner of each section  Winner of the rated section gets, Sacking the Citadel: The History, Theory and Practice of the Classic Bishop Sacrifice.  Winner of the club rated section walks home with Mastering Mates 2: 1,111 Two-move, Three-move & Four-move Mates.You can speed your registration via this Eventbrite link.


First Annual Bel Air National Chess Day Tournament

Three Great Events in One

Come to visit Bel Air for two days of chess and explore our town!
This is for players of all levels!  We have events for USChess Members, casual players, and a “Learn to Play Chess” class.
At the Bel Air Armory, 37 N Main St, Bel Air, MD 21014 on Oct 9 and 10.

Regiser HERE! at Eventbrite!

Learn to Play Chess: 

Saturday from 9:00 to 10:30:  A class for absolute beginners!  If you are curious on how to play chess, in one morning you will learn the rules and how to play.  Following the class, we will have practice session against fellow students.

A Tournament for Casual Players

Sunday Oct 10:  A great first tournament!  This is a four-round tournament (Swiss System), where players are not eliminated.  Registration is FREE with prizes to the top 3 finishers!  Time control is 30 minutes per player with 10 seconds added per move.


Sunday, Oct 10:
Registration 8:00 am – 8:45
Round 1, 9:00
Round 2, 10:20
Round 3, 1:20
Round 4, 2:40


  • 1st prize – complete chess case with board, pieces, and clock
  • 2nd prize – Chess Board and pieces
  • 3rd prize – Chess clock
  • 4th prize – Chess notation book
  • 5th prize – Chess strategy book
Tiebreaks will be determined by the USChess tiebreak system.

Rated Tournament for USChess Members

There are two sections over two days.  A 4 round Swiss System SS, G/90 + 10.  Prizes $925 FULLY FUNDED!!! based on 50 entries. Entry Fee: $25


Open Section:  1st $175; U2000 $150; U 1800 $150, U1600 $125 
U1400 Section:  1st $125; U1200 $100; U1000 $75


Saturday Oct 9:  Registration; 8:00 – 8:45 am  Round 1, 9:00; Round 2, 2:00 pm
Sunday Oct 10:  Round 3, 8:00 am; Round 4, 1:00 pm. 

Please bring set, board, clock if possible.  While we have many board sets and clocks, this is a big event, and we may run a bit short.

For the Casual Players Tournament:

We may or may not use clocks based upon availability of equipment.  If a game runs a long, we may impose a clock to maintain the schedule.

We strongly urge all USChess players to play in the rated section.

July 21 2021
Speed Chess Night in a Cascade format!
From 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Rec Center in the Community Room
Those without vaccines need to wear a mask.
We hope you can make it.

Saturday!  April 24

We have our Over the Board, in person tournament!

We have prizes!  We will have a pair of trophies.  One for the overall winner and another for the reserve champ.  Players who have never been a USChess member qualify for the Reserve trophy.
Registration is from 9:00 to 9:15 on Saturday morning on the 24th.

We will be at the

Community Room at the
Emmorton Recreation Center
2213 Old Emmorton Rd
Bel Air, MD 21015

This is a 4R SS (4 Round Swiss System) with G30+5 (Game in 30 minutes with a 5 second increment per move) time control.  

Schedule:  Round 1 (R1) 9:30; R2 10:40; R3 12:49; R4 1:50.

This is a club rated event.  We will use our club ratings for the pairings.  If you do not have a Club Rating, we will use another rating you may have.  If you do not have a rating, you can establish your club rating here.

If you don’t find the answer to your question below, please email me.

I have never played in a tournament before.  Is this a good place to start.
YES!  You will be hard pressed to find a better place to start playing in tournaments.

I’m a veteran tournament player.  Will this be a good tournament for me?
Are you kidding?  This is OTB play with no risk to you USChess rating.  There is no downside to this for you.

What if I lose a game?
This is a Swiss System tournament and as such players are not eliminated.

What if there are an odd number of players?
In the event of an odd number of players, one player receives a full point bye.  Players may only receive one bye like this for the tournament.

Will I need to wear a mask the whole time, even while playing?

I might be late, can I play?
Yes, but if you arrive after the registration closes, you will receive a zero-point bye for any un-played rounds.

I have to leave early.  Is that okay?
Yes. But you need to let the Tournament Director know.  Again, you will receive a zero-point bye for any un-played rounds.

Do I need to be a member of the United States Chess Federation (USChess)?
No.  This is a club level event.  We will follow the USChess rules with a few minor exceptions.

Do I need to have an active Emmorton Rec Chess Club Membership?
No.  Due to COVID we have not accepted registrations for our 2020-21 season.  Let’s just get together and play some chess.

What about food?
There is no eating at the tournament site.  You can bring your own food and drink, but you may not eat at the site.  If you are looking for lunch, there are many good places nearby.  The Festival at Bel Air has a good variety.  There are many fast-food restaurants within a block or two.  And if you are looking for coffee, I suggest Coffee Coffee in the Festival at Bel Air.

We have scheduled a lunch break between rounds 2 and 3.

What do I need to bring?  
A mask and a pencil (or pen)!  We should have plenty of boards, sets and clocks.  If you want to bring your own equipment you may.  Remember that your equipment needs to meet USChess standards.  So, no matter how cool your Star Wars chess set is, you will probably not get to use it.

Will I need to write down my moves?
No.  This is one of the exceptions to USChess rules.

If you do not keep score (write down your moves), you will not be able to make a claim of a draw based on the 50-move rule, 3-fold repletion, or other claim that requires a valid score sheet.  This is another exception to the USChess rules.  The sole exception is if a Tournament Director is a witness.

National Chess Day Results...

We had a great time and some much needed OTB play  

Trophy Winners!

1st Open Class - Whit Weber
2nd Open Class - Mike Killmond
1st Unrated Class - Nathan Crisp
2nd Unrated Class - Larry Burkhardt
Best Novice - Bill Miller


Oct 11 - National Chess Day - Chess in the Park

We have ALL BEEN missing OTB play.  Here is an opportunity!  From 8:00 to 2:00 on Oct 11 we host a National Chess Day Tournament (okay so it's a day late).  During the FREE event, we plan to hold 4 rounds of G30 +5 time control chess.  IF we get enough participation, we will hold both a USCF Rated and non-rated section.  Prizes? We're working on that still.  

Where?  The Shucks Road Regional Park Pavilion.  This is an outdoor event in  public park.  We may have a bit more noise / interruption than usual.

Sets?  We should have plenty of sets, clocks etc.  

:  To ensure everyone's safe,  We have these protocols

  1. Everyone must wear a mask!  
  2. Maintain Social Distancing - The facility is large enough to accommodate about 40 players BUT this means we need to limit participation.  SO.  Arrive early to ensure your spot.  Spectators must remain 6 feet away from players.
  3. We will clean/sanitize equipment before the event and you will have the opportunity to clean the equipment between rounds
  4. While food is not allowed at the board under normal circumstances, drinks (including water) will not be permitted at the board.  Personal food and drinks are permitted away from the board AND away from other people.  No sharing of any food or drinks. 

See you in ????

We simply cannot follow essential safety protocols and play over the board chess.  As a result we will delay the start of our club further. As of now, we do not know when we will be able to return to regular club meetings. When we know, I will update this page and send out an email to our email list and post on our Facebook page..

Follow this link if you want to be added to our email list..

In the meantime, keep playing, studying and try to stay sharp.  We will continue to post on Facebook from time to time.

Project 1500

Who wants to get their USCF rating above 1500?  Project 1500 aims to get our regular USCF ratings to above 1500.  This is a voluntary project and is in addition to our regular club activities.  We will…

  • play through selected Grandmaster level games,
  • work on endgames,
  • work on tactics, and
  • play in USCF rated events

We will use a separate mailing list for this and therefore you need to let me know if you want to be included.

Play through selected Grandmaster level games:

We will provide Grandmaster level games for review.  We start by reviewing 10 of these games every day.  For those who are NOT familiar with chess notation, more on this later.  This way chess notation becomes second nature.  Our first set is the 2017 and 2018 Sinquefield Cup games. 
We will provide these games in two formats. 

  1. Online via a browser.  Here is the first link.
  2. Via a ChessBase file.  To read this file you will need a ChessBase product.  There is no need to purchase a ChessBase product.  Simply download the FREE ChessBase reader.  You can find the reader here. NOTE:  ChessBase makes very good chess product however
    1. they only run on Windows, and
    2. they are expensive.

This is why we have the web browser version.

Work on endgames

For the first week we will let some folks catch up.  You need to know these two basic concepts.

  1. How to deliver checkmate with a King and Rook vs. a King
  2. How a lone King stops a pawn and King from promoting the pawn.  You can find a video on that

Work on tactics

I suggest using for tactics training, at least to start. Sign up and get an account so you the website can adjust the problems to your level.  I suggest 10 tactics problems a day. 

Play in USCF rated events

First we need to get to slower chess.  Speed chess is fun, but it does not help your game.  G60 is the fasted we should play.  For scholastic players, this may be tough as many of the scholastic events are G25.  Even the MD Scholastic Championship for U1000 players is G45 d5.  While these are OK to start, once your regular rating gets over 1200, we need to play in slower events.  Besides, the better play is in the non-scholastic events. 
To play in USCF rated events you need to have an active USCF membership and be able to write chess notation.  In a future email, I will send details on chess notation.  SO if you need instruction on chess notation, let me know.
At the club we will still have plenty of G5 and G15 games.  The schedule at the club makes slower events less popular. 

What We Do

The Emmorton Rec.Chess provides an environment where players can improve their game and make some friends.  The Emmorton Rec. Chess Club is open to players of all ages.  We meet most Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Emmorton Rec and Tennis Center.  Please stop by and check us out.

Rated Quick Chess -

About once a month we hold USCF Rated quick chess tournaments.  These are free to our members and typically cost $2 for non members.  If you do not have a USCF membership we often have a non-rated section.  As the cost is low / free, we promise no prizes but often have a small token prize.  Click Here for recent results.

Tournament Trips -

We organize occasional trips to larger tournaments. 


Thematic Nights -

In the past we have had thematic nights for various openings, gong chess, and bughouse. 

Puzzles and Position Analysis -

We occasionally review interesting positions, difficult puzzles, and significant games.  

If you have any questions or want to be added to our email list, contact us at [email protected].

BONUS - 60 Checkmate in 1 problems for free

Recent Events

How to play!

This series of videos explains the rules of the game.  This can get you started.

Quick Link to Ratings List is HERE

Quick Link to the Schedule is HERE

11/4/2021 Blitz and Quick:

Per request, we split the group last week into two parallel tournaments.  Several members asked for a slower time control and we put together a G15, 3 round Swiss.  We also held the advertised G5+2 blitz Swiss and were able to convert it to a double Swiss.  Whit Weber walked a away with another perfect score in the Blitz Double Swiss and Klaus managed a perfect score in the G15 section.  Perhaps these two will go head to head this week.

G5 Blitz results from 5 March 2020

Jude took first in the unrated section and Siddarth took first in the rated section. Both went undefeated in 5 rounds.  Well done gents. 
You can find the rated section results online here. 
Final standings from the unrated section are below!

Nathan Crisp is the Big Fish in the Little Pond - well not any more

Nathan Crisp, Scott Campbell, Weston Shook and Jude Krasnoff faced off in a G5 blitz playoff after a 4 way tie and the end of 4 rounds of Swiss System pairings.  Nathan went undefeated to take home the prize which gained him a USChess membership and the ability to play in the rated section!  Congratulations to Nathan and welcome to the big pond!

Knights of MD win the ERC Team

Phillip and Isaac combine forces to win the ERC Team Championship.  The Knights of MD beat out two other teams with higher average ratings.  You can find the wall charts on the Facebook page.  

Congratulations to our new Club Champion Whit Weber!

Weber slugged his way through 5 consecutive games with only one draw to seize the Emmorton Recreation Club Championship.  His final shootout against Brain Fox can be found online via our Facebook page.  Fox played well and managed a minor advantage until about move 6 and on move 9 blundered a piece.  That was all the advantage Whit needed to eventually best the unrated section winner.

Also last week we held a parallel event to the Championship Shootout, a G5 Blitz.  Mike Killmound walked unscathed through 5 rounds to secure the top spot.  Sid managed a clear second with 4 – 1 record.  Ronan, Jabbior and Killmond each significantly boost their club ratings. 

Weber and Fox to Win Their Sections in the 2020 Club Championship!

Whit Weber and Brian Fox won their sections in the 2020 Club Championship and the two with shoot it out in a G60+5 match Thursday February 6. 

Fox toped his field with a perfect 4-0 result and Weber was grilled for a half point resulting in a 3-0-1 result.  IN the past the unrated section winner has gone on to win the overall title.  Will Brian manage to repeat this rare event?  

The players will toss for color so the question is, will Weber uncork his standard ope e4 opening and will Fox allow Whit to attempt a Sicilian?

Games, you say you want to see the games?  Well here they are from the rated section!

Cross tables for the Rated Section are HERE.

Here are the results from our Championship Preview from Dec 12 & 19.

The rated section wall chart is on line at the USCF here.

Here is our unrated section.

You can find the games from the rated section here

Black to move, why not … Qxd3

1.   ...       Qxd3
2.   Qh4  and Black has few options (note that 3. Rh8 and Qxd8 threaten #
      ...       Qxf1
3.   Kxf1

White to move, find the best move

1.   Rxf8+     Qxf8
2.   Nxf8       Rxf8
2.   ...             Rxe2
3.   Ne6   (threating Qxg7#)
        ...             Rxe6
4.   Qb8 and checkmate is forced.

White to move,
Find the Best Move

1. Bf5 (all other moves allow Black to promote the c pawn)
1... exf5 (Other moves for Black allow both pawns to promote and therefore which results in a draw.)
2. h4 and stalement on the next move.
Sometimes, the best move is to fight for a draw.

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